- Like some other cat breeds, the origins of the Tonkinese is somewhat vague. There appears to be the mainstream history and a sideshow. Tonkinese breeders would argue that they can trace their cats back to a seal mink-coloured cat, Wong Mau.
- Wong Mau was brought from Burma to the US in the early 1930s. That’s the foundation cat of the breed apparently.
- The sideshow, as I have called it, is that in the 1950s a New York city cat owner, Milan Greer created a hybrid by mating a Siamese with a Burmese to produce what he called a “Golden Siamese”. Specifically, he crossed a seal point Siamese with a sable Burmese. His cats were popular in NYC during 1950s and early 1960s.
- The appearance is distinctly a mix of Burmese and Siamese featuring the best attributes of both breeds. Although, the head shape is not of the extreme modern Siamese but of the traditional Siamese. This is a medium-sized cat.
- Breeders describe the cat as semi-foreign in type which means slightly slender but none of the extreme slenderness of the contemporary Siamese. The cat should be quite moderate in appearance.
- The coat is close-lying and medium-short. It is soft, fine and silky. It requires little grooming.
- The Tonkinese cat is shown in sepia, pointed and mink categories, eumelanistic colours only. These colours are: seal sepia, seal point and seal mink; chocolate sepia, chocolate point and chocolate mink; cinnamon sepia, cinnamon point and cinnamon mink; lilac sepia, lilac point and lilac mint; blue sepia, blue point and blue mink; fawn sepia, fawn point and fawn mink (my thanks to Gloria Stephens).
- As for temperament, they are described as being sociable and adaptable. They are intelligent in line with the accepted intelligence of the Siamese. They are affectionate in line with the Burmese temperament. They love to be close to their owners and follow them around. They are gregarious and outgoing, quite active and chatty.
I have a detailed page on the Tonkinese. Please click this link to read it.
SOME MORE ON THE TONKINESE: